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What to Do about False Positives

Some types of security, especially Norton and McAfee, sometimes give users a false positive. For example, you find the game that you want and you know other friends play it, but it comes up as “dangerous to download”. Or you run a scan and it says you have viruses that you realize are really programs that you use. What do you do?

 

* Report the False Positive – You can go to the website for the virus scan app that you decided to use and report the false positives. This will help them update their solution so that eventually that one won’t show up if enough people reported it.

* Use Another Virus Program – Disable the virus program that is giving a false positive and try another one to find out if it’s saying the same thing. If you know for sure it’s still a false positive, report it to them too.

* Check the Website – Virus companies often tag websites that don’t have a lot of traffic, which is bad for new businesses because their website can be tagged as having a virus or malware when it really doesn’t. If you know the owner, talk to them about it. It’s likely they’ve had others tell them this too.

* Program Not in Database – If you get that warning, it doesn’t mean it’s a virus or malware. However, you still want to do some further research to make sure that the program you’re downloading is safe. Check with the owners, then run another scan with a different virus software program.

* Use VirusTotal – This system uses a combination of many virus scanners to check files and URLs for viruses. If you’re not sure about a website you’re visiting that’s giving you a potential false positive, be sure to enter the URL there or upload the file there. Link: https://www.virustotal.com/en/

* Consult Your User Guide – The best thing to do is to consult your user guide too about potential false positives. If you know how they rate information, then you can be more sure about the problem with the file or URL.

* Consult Vendor’s Site – If you’re getting any types of warnings from any vendor, you should contact them. They’ll let you know if they’re getting false positives reported to them. Plus, if you can contact the vendor and they appear reputable without tons of complaints on their social sites, you can gather that they’re probably safe.

* Use Your Gut – If you aren’t sure, and your gut tells you it’s a problem, “too good to be true”, “you weren’t looking for this software”, it was a “pop up” that you didn’t expect and so forth, then trust your gut and don’t use the file or URL.

It happens almost daily that inexperienced people miss out on good software due to these false positives. But, the community can work together to report these, and be diligent to ensure that you don’t spread viruses.

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